The first public meeting in Howard Beach for the state’s reconstruction plan was held at P.S. 146 on October 21.
Residents learned about the state’s NY Rising Community Reconstruction program, which is a plan that provides funds for rebuilding and revitalization of more than 100 communities that were severely damaged by Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.
The reconstruction program allows the neighborhoods to decide how funds should be spent in their communities, so the first meeting focused on identifying community needs and resources where residents would like to see the money invested.
Howard Beach was designated $18.3 million from the program.
“What I love about this program is that it’s not the governor telling residents what they are going to get,” said State Senator Joseph Addabbo. “It’s from the bottom up.
The residents are telling the governor how they would like to see that $18 million spent.”
Community resources are broken into categories, such as economic, housing, infrastructure, natural and cultural, and health and social. Each category contains a corresponding list of places in the community. Residents had the opportunity to add to more places to the lists at the meeting.
In the “necessities” section, people said they would like the community to invest in solar panels, gasoline on hand for generators, a central storm hub, and strengthening churches and high ground shelters, among others.
The Howard Beach NY Rising planning committee, which is made up of residents from the neighborhood, will take the feedback from the meeting to review. There will be three more public meetings to discuss the reconstruction plan, before a final plan is drafted and submitted.
The next public meeting will be on November 18 at P.S. 207. For more information about the program residents should visit stormrecovery.ny.gov.